Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon marmalade bars

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

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lemon marmalade bars | H is for Home

It was Justin’s birthday last week and each year I take a birthday cake request from him. It’s usually something I don’t make often, if ever, because it’s something I don’t much like myself. There aren’t that many sweet things that I don’t like. But most things containing lemon or orange make it onto that list. Funnily enough, I don’t mind food with lime or grapefruit!

Last year, I pulled out & kept a page from a Stella Magazine containing a recipe I knew he’d like. It was for lemon marmalade bars by Sarah Leahey Benjamin. I promptly filed it away and forgot about it. On his birthday I asked, “So what cake do you want for your birthday?” He replied, “Lemon drizzle cake.” I think I made that last year (and more than likely the previous year too!), but it was his birthday, so who was I to say no? I flipped through my recipe folder and my eyes fell upon the pretty picture of the lemon marmalade bars. “What about these?”, I asked. “Yeah, OK.” he replied, a little indifferently.

It was delicious – even I had a piece or two. We took some with us for Granny Glittens to try when we went for a visit and she enjoyed it too. Success!

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon marmalade bars

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: makes 16 small slices

Cakes & Bakes: Lemon marmalade bars

Ingredients

  • For the filling
  • 2 lemons, unwaxed
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 4tsp cornflour
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 45g/1½oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  •  
  • For the base
  • 140g/5oz plain flour
  • 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 125g/4½oz unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • ½tsp vanilla essence
  • icing sugar for sifting
  •  
  •  

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4
  2. Line a 20cm/8in square tin with tin foil, making sure the foil goes up & over the sides
  3. Slice one of lemons into 8 wedges lengthwise then slice each eighth into small pieces, making sure to remove the seeds
  4. In a small bowl, mix the slices with the sugar, rubbing the sugar into the lemon with your fingers to help extract the lemon oil
  5. Set aside for about an hour at room temperature
  6. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour with the caster sugar, ¼tsp salt, melted butter and vanilla essence
  7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth down with the back of a spoon, making sure it goes right into the corners
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown
  9. While the base is cooking, finish preparing the filling
  10. Juice the remaining lemon, measure out 3 tbsp of juice and set aside
  11. Using a food processor, blitz the macerated lemon & sugar mixture until smooth
  12. Add the lemon juice, eggs, cornflour, ¼ tsp salt and melted butter
  13. Purée again until the mixture is smooth
  14. Once the base is cooked, remove the tin from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2
  15. Carefullly pour the lemon filling over the cooked crust and return the tin to the oven
  16. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the mixture is just set
  17. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan
  18. Dust with icing sugar prior to serving
  19. Using the edges of the tin foil, lift the cake out of the tin and cut into squares, rectangles or diamond shapes
http://hisforhomeblog.com/cakes-bakes/cakes-bakes-lemon-marmalade-bars/

Cakes & Bakes: Baked Banana Cheesecake

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

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Baked banana cheesecake | H is for Home

Our favourite dessert to make for a dinner party is a freshly-baked, light & airy vanilla cheesecake. The recipe we posted, one of Gordon Ramsay‘s, is by far the most popular of our Cakes & Bakes series.

This week, I suggested to Justin that I’d make a baked banana cheesecake for a change. Being a traditionalist, he wasn’t as enthusiastic about the idea as I was. I went ahead and made it anyway – I thought that if it was put in front of him, he’d eat it anyway. And so he did!

The secret to a light & airy banana cheesecake is to whisk the mixture to within an inch of its life. Using an electric food mixer makes the job a lot less laborious. However, doing it by hand with a balloon whisk will burn off a lot more calories and tone up the bingo wings! :-)

Cakes & Bakes: Baked Banana Cheesecake

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: makes 6-8 slices

Cakes & Bakes: Baked Banana Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • for the base
  • 150g/5oz ginger nut biscuits
  • 50g/2oz butter
  • 25g/1oz Demerara sugar
  •  
  • for the cake
  • 400g/14oz cream cheese
  • 125g/4½oz low fat plain yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 medium-sized, very ripe bananas
  • 180g/6½oz caster sugar
  •  

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas mark 3
  2. Grease a 20cm/8in deep, spring-form cake tin
  3. In a food processor, grind the ginger nut biscuits making sure there are no lumps
  4. In a medium-sized saucepan on a low heat, add the butter & Demerara sugar and stir until the butter is melted and sugar has dissolved
  5. Remove from the heat, add the ground ginger nuts and mix
  6. Put the mixture into the cake tin and press firmly & evenly into the base using the back of a spoon
  7. Put the tin into the fridge while you make the cake mixture
  8. In a food mixer, using the balloon whisk attachment, mix the cream cheese and yoghurt on a high speed setting for 3 minutes until aerated
  9. In the food processor that was used for grinding the ginger nuts (no need to clean it out between the two stages), puree the bananas
  10. Add the banana puree to the cheese & yoghurt mixture and whisk on a low speed for a minute
  11. In a measuring jug, whisk the eggs before adding it to the cake mixture in 2 stages, whisking after each addition
  12. Add the vanilla essence to the mix then add the caster sugar and whisk until well blended, light & airy
  13. Remove the cake tin from the fridge and cover the bottom & sides with a double layer of tin foil
  14. Pour the cake mixture into the tin, over the ginger nut base and place the tin into a deepish baking tray
  15. Add water to the tray, to a level about 1.5cm below the rim
  16. Carefully put the tray containing the cake tin into the oven and bake for 75 minutes
  17. Remove from the oven, take the cake tin out of the water bath and allow to cool for 10 minutes
  18. Remove the cake from the tin, allow to cool for a further 20 minutes before chilling in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.
http://hisforhomeblog.com/cakes-bakes/cakes-bakes-baked-banana-cheesecake/

Cakes & Bakes: Hazelnut fig frangipane cake

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

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Hazelnut and fig frangipane cake | H is for Home

When the image of Domestic Sluttery’s delicious looking Hazelnut fig frangipane cake appeared on Facebook, I immediately pinned it to our Cake! Pinterest board.

Justin loves frangipane and I’ve never used it in a recipe before. The idea of frangipane, figs and runny honey… in a cake… IRRESISTABLE!

We happened to already have all the ingredients in the store cupboard. We used soft dried figs instead of fresh or tinned as the original recipe calls for – they worked a treat!

 

Cakes & Bakes: Hazelnut and fig frangipane cake

Yield: makes 6 slices

Cakes & Bakes: Hazelnut and fig frangipane cake

Ingredients

  • for the cake
  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 140g butter, softened
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 60g ground almonds
  • ½tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ nutmeg, finely grated
  • 60g self raising flour
  • 6 soft dried figs
  •  
  • for the syrup
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1tsp hot water
  • Icing sugar and a few rough chopped hazelnuts, to decorate (optional)
  •  
  •  

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160ºC /325ºF/Gas mark 3
  2. Grease a 23cm/9inch round, loose-bottom cake tin
  3. Put the hazelnuts in a dry, heavy-bottomed saucepan and set over a medium heat to toast for around 5 minutes, shaking every so often to make sure they don't burn
  4. Tip out onto a clean tea towel and rub vigorously to remove the skins
  5. Using a mini food processor or similar, finely grind the hazelnuts and set aside
  6. Cream together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy
  7. In a small measuring jug, gently whisk the eggs before adding them to the butter & sugar in three stages, mixing after each addition
  8. Add the ground hazelnuts, almonds, vanilla and grated nutmeg
  9. Gently fold in the flour until just combined
  10. Spoon the mixture into the greased cake tin and level out with a spatula
  11. With a pair of scissors, remove the hard stalk from the figs and press each gently into the mixture
  12. Sprinkle the top of the cake with a little caster sugar
  13. Bake for 40 minutes until a skewer inserted comes away clean
  14. Cool in the tin on a wire rack for a few minutes
  15. Dilute the honey with the teaspoon of hot water
  16. Poke a few holes in the cake whilst it's still warm and spoon over the syrup evenly over the top
  17. Remove from the tin, dust with icing sugar and a few chopped, toasted hazelnuts and serve warm with mascarpone or Greek yoghurt and a nice cup of tea!
http://hisforhomeblog.com/cakes-bakes/cakes-bakes-hazelnut-fig-frangipane-cake/

Cakes & Bakes: Broas Castelar

Monday, March 24th, 2014

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Plate of broa castelar

This is a special edition of Cakes & Bakes, in association with Villa Plus, the self-catering villa specialists. We’re competing against 9 other food bloggers, recreating local specialties from Corfu, Lanzarote, Majorca, Cyprus and the Algarve.

I chose to try my hand at broas castelar. They’re Algarvian sweet potato cakes, traditionally made & eaten at Christmastime. Legend has it they were invented by the Castelar brothers who, in 1860, opened the Confeitaria Francesa in downtown Lisbon.

We were given the opportunity tweak the classic recipe a little. It calls for the rind of an orange, but I’m not a great fan, so I substituted it with some crystallised ginger. It’s also often made with breadcrumbs, but instead I used ground almonds – a popular ingredient in Portugese cuisine.

Cakes & Bakes: Broas Castelar

Yield: makes 40-50 broas

Cakes & Bakes: Broas Castelar

Cost (prices taken from MySupermarket.co.uk)

1kg sweet potatoes | 96p
100g ground almonds | 99p
150g fine cornmeal | 25p
300g plain flour | 9p
100g desiccated coconut | 50p
3 eggs | 62p
10g crystalised ginger | 11p
350g soft brown sugar | 87p
2 egg yolks, beaten | 41p
350g soft brown sugar | 87p

£4.80 in total / 9-12p each

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
  2. On a baking sheet, bake the sweet potatoes whole in their skins until soft (about half an hour, turning the potatoes over halfway through)
  3. Slice the potatoes in half, scoop out the flesh and discard the skins
  4. Pass the flesh through a ricer or sieve to puree
  5. Put the puree into a large saucepan, add the sugar and heat to boiling for about 5 minutes, stirring all the time to prevent it sticking to the bottom and burning. This is to get rid of some of the liquid
  6. Take it off the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes
  7. Add the 3 eggs to the potato & sugar mix and combine well
  8. In a large-sized bowl, add all the remaining dry ingredients - ground almonds, cornmeal, plain flour, desiccated coconut and chopped crystallised ginger - and combine well
  9. Add the dry ingredients to the wet potato mixture in 3 stages, mixing with a wooden spoon after each addition
  10. Tip the mixture back into the large bowl, cover in cling film and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight
  11. Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas mark 7 (200ºC if fan-assisted)
  12. Grease 2 large baking trays well
  13. With floured hands, make small lozenge shapes, each using about a tablespoonful of mixture and lay on the baking tray
  14. Brush each with the beaten egg yolk
  15. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned
  16. As this batch is cooking in the oven, prepare the next batch for the other baking tray
  17. Remove from the tray and allow to cool on a wire rack
http://hisforhomeblog.com/cakes-bakes/cakes-bakes-broas-castelar/

We found that the contrast between the crisp outer coating and the soft inner develops further if you let the broas castelar cool before eating – they’re worth the short wait!

Plate of broa castelar

They’re lovely eaten just as they are – the ginger is subtle and delicious. It combines very well with the underlying coconut flavour. We experimented with some other serving options; a thin scrape of butter works really well – and is probably our favourite. Honey & preserves are other possibilities. One thing’s for certain – whether you eat them plain or with a topping – they’re great with a cup of tea!

Gimme Five! Spatulas

Friday, March 21st, 2014

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selection of 5 cooking spatulas

I know it’s not ‘sexy’, but a cooking spatula is an integral piece of kit in our kitchen. It’s used for stirring, flipping and getting every last drop of batter out of a mixing bowl.

We only have one in our cooking arsenal, and it’s looking a bit ragged. The white rubber is looking decidedly grey and appears to have been attacked by a serrated knife at some point. Time to chuck it out and invest in a new one. These are some of the (brightly coloured) ones we like…

  1. GUBBRÖRA rubber spatula – green/pink red/green, blue/white: £0.60, IKEA
  2. I Can Cook spatula, orange: £2.99 Notonthehighstreet
  3. Typhoon Gerry Giraffe spatula, orange: £6, Debenhams
  4. KitchenCraft Colourworks silicone spatula in orange: £13.60, Wayfair
  5. Elevate™ spatula spoon: £9.50, Joseph Joseph